FFI::Platypus - Write Perl bindings to non-Perl libraries with FFI. No XS required.


version 2.01


 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 # for all new code you should use api => 2
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->lib(undef); # search libc
 # call dynamically
 $ffi->function( puts => ['string'] => 'int' )->call("hello world");
 # attach as a xsub and call (much faster)
 $ffi->attach( puts => ['string'] => 'int' );
 puts("hello world");


Platypus is a library for creating interfaces to machine code libraries written in languages like C, C++, Go, Fortran, Rust, Pascal. Essentially anything that gets compiled into machine code. This implementation uses libffi to accomplish this task. libffi is battle tested by a number of other scripting and virtual machine languages, such as Python and Ruby to serve a similar role. There are a number of reasons why you might want to write an extension with Platypus instead of XS:

FFI / Platypus does not require messing with the guts of Perl

XS is less of an API and more of the guts of perl splayed out to do whatever you want. That may at times be very powerful, but it can also be a frustrating exercise in hair pulling.

FFI / Platypus is portable

Lots of languages have FFI interfaces, and it is subjectively easier to port an extension written in FFI in Perl or another language to FFI in another language or Perl. One goal of the Platypus Project is to reduce common interface specifications to a common format like JSON that could be shared between different languages.

FFI / Platypus could be a bridge to Raku

One of those "other" languages could be Raku and Raku already has an FFI interface I am told.

FFI / Platypus can be reimplemented

In a bright future with multiple implementations of Perl 5, each interpreter will have its own implementation of Platypus, allowing extensions to be written once and used on multiple platforms, in much the same way that Ruby-FFI extensions can be use in Ruby, JRuby and Rubinius.

FFI / Platypus is pure perl (sorta)

One Platypus script or module works on any platform where the libraries it uses are available. That means you can deploy your Platypus script in a shared filesystem where they may be run on different platforms. It also means that Platypus modules do not need to be installed in the platform specific Perl library path.

FFI / Platypus is not C or C++ centric

XS is implemented primarily as a bunch of C macros, which requires at least some understanding of C, the C pre-processor, and some C++ caveats (since on some platforms Perl is compiled and linked with a C++ compiler). Platypus on the other hand could be used to call other compiled languages, like Fortran, Go, Rust, Pascal, C++, or even assembly, allowing you to focus on your strengths.

FFI / Platypus does not require a parser

Inline isolates the extension developer from XS to some extent, but it also requires a parser. The various Inline language bindings are a great technical achievement, but I think writing a parser for every language that you want to interface with is a bit of an anti-pattern.

This document consists of an API reference, a set of examples, some support and development (for contributors) information. If you are new to Platypus or FFI, you may want to skip down to the EXAMPLES to get a taste of what you can do with Platypus.

Platypus has extensive documentation of types at FFI::Platypus::Type and its custom types API at FFI::Platypus::API.

You are strongly encouraged to use API level 1 for all new code. There are a number of improvements and design fixes that you get for free. You should even consider updating existing modules to use API level 1 where feasible. How do I do that you might ask? Simply pass in the API level to the platypus constructor.

 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );

The Platypus documentation has already been updated to assume API level 1.



 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2, %options);

Create a new instance of FFI::Platypus.

Any types defined with this instance will be valid for this instance only, so you do not need to worry about stepping on the toes of other CPAN FFI / Platypus Authors.

Any functions found will be out of the list of libraries specified with the lib attribute.



[version 0.91]

Sets the API level. Legal values are


Original API level. See FFI::Platypus::TypeParser::Version0 for details on the differences.


Enable version 1 API type parser which allows pass-by-value records and type decoration on basic types.


Enable version 2 API. All new code should be written with this set to 1! The Platypus documentation assumes this api level is set.

API version 2 is identical to version 1, except:

Pointer functions that return NULL will return undef instead of empty list

This fixes a long standing design bug in Platypus.

Array references may be passed to pointer argument types

This replicates the behavior of array argument types with no size. So the types sint8* and sint8[] behave identically when an array reference is passed in. They differ in that, as before, you can pass a scalar reference into type sint8*.

The fixed string type can be specified without pointer modifier

That is you can use string(10) instead of string(10)* as you were previously able to in API 0.


Either a pathname (string) or a list of pathnames (array ref of strings) to pre-populate the lib attribute. Use [undef] to search the current process for symbols.


undef (without the array reference) can be used to search the current process for symbols.


[version 0.15]

Set the ignore_not_found attribute.


[version 0.18]

Set the lang attribute.



 $ffi->lib($path1, $path2, ...);
 my @paths = $ffi->lib;

The list of libraries to search for symbols in.

The most portable and reliable way to find dynamic libraries is by using FFI::CheckLib, like this:

 use FFI::CheckLib 0.06;
 $ffi->lib(find_lib_or_die lib => 'archive');
   # finds on Linux
   #       libarchive.bundle on OS X
   #       libarchive.dll (or archive.dll) on Windows
   #       cygarchive-13.dll on Cygwin
   #       ...
   # and will die if it isn't found

FFI::CheckLib has a number of options, such as checking for specific symbols, etc. You should consult the documentation for that module.

As a special case, if you add undef as a "library" to be searched, Platypus will also search the current process for symbols. This is mostly useful for finding functions in the standard C library, without having to know the name of the standard c library for your platform (as it turns out it is different just about everywhere!).

You may also use the "find_lib" method as a shortcut:

 $ffi->find_lib( lib => 'archive' );


[version 0.15]

 my $ignore_not_found = $ffi->ignore_not_found;

Normally the attach and function methods will throw an exception if it cannot find the name of the function you provide it. This will change the behavior such that function will return undef when the function is not found and attach will ignore functions that are not found. This is useful when you are writing bindings to a library and have many optional functions and you do not wish to wrap every call to function or attach in an eval.


[version 0.18]


Specifies the foreign language that you will be interfacing with. The default is C. The foreign language specified with this attribute changes the default native types (for example, if you specify Rust, you will get i32 as an alias for sint32 instead of int as you do with C).

If the foreign language plugin supports it, this will also enable Platypus to find symbols using the demangled names (for example, if you specify CPP for C++ you can use method names like Foo::get_bar() with "attach" or "function".


[version 1.11]

 my $level = $ffi->api;

Returns the API level of the Platypus instance.



 $ffi->type($typename => $alias);

Define a type. The first argument is the native or C name of the type. The second argument (optional) is an alias name that you can use to refer to this new type. See FFI::Platypus::Type for legal type definitions.


 $ffi->type('sint32');            # only checks to see that sint32 is a valid type
 $ffi->type('sint32' => 'myint'); # creates an alias myint for sint32
 $ffi->type('bogus');             # dies with appropriate diagnostic


 $ffi->custom_type($alias => {
   native_type         => $native_type,
   native_to_perl      => $coderef,
   perl_to_native      => $coderef,
   perl_to_native_post => $coderef,

Define a custom type. See FFI::Platypus::Type#Custom-Types for details.


 $ffi->load_custom_type($name => $alias, @type_args);

Load the custom type defined in the module $name, and make an alias $alias. If the custom type requires any arguments, they may be passed in as @type_args. See FFI::Platypus::Type#Custom-Types for details.

If $name contains :: then it will be assumed to be a fully qualified package name. If not, then FFI::Platypus::Type:: will be prepended to it.


 my @types = $ffi->types;
 my @types = FFI::Platypus->types;

Returns the list of types that FFI knows about. This will include the native libffi types (example: sint32, opaque and double) and the normal C types (example: unsigned int, uint32_t), any types that you have defined using the type method, and custom types.

The list of types that Platypus knows about varies somewhat from platform to platform, FFI::Platypus::Type includes a list of the core types that you can always count on having access to.

It can also be called as a class method, in which case, no user defined or custom types will be included in the list.


 my $meta = $ffi->type_meta($type_name);
 my $meta = FFI::Platypus->type_meta($type_name);

Returns a hash reference with the meta information for the given type.

It can also be called as a class method, in which case, you won't be able to get meta data on user defined types.

The format of the meta data is implementation dependent and subject to change. It may be useful for display or debugging.


 my $meta = $ffi->type_meta('int');        # standard int type
 my $meta = $ffi->type_meta('int[64]');    # array of 64 ints
 $ffi->type('int[128]' => 'myintarray');
 my $meta = $ffi->type_meta('myintarray'); # array of 128 ints



Specify a customer mangler to be used for symbol lookup. This is usually useful when you are writing bindings for a library where all of the functions have the same prefix. Example:

 $ffi->mangler(sub {
   my($symbol) = @_;
   return "foo_$symbol";
 $ffi->function( get_bar => [] => 'int' );  # attaches foo_get_bar
 my $f = $ffi->function( set_baz => ['int'] => 'void' );
 $f->call(22); # calls foo_set_baz


 my $function = $ffi->function($name => \@argument_types => $return_type);
 my $function = $ffi->function($address => \@argument_types => $return_type);
 my $function = $ffi->function($name => \@argument_types => $return_type, \&wrapper);
 my $function = $ffi->function($address => \@argument_types => $return_type, \&wrapper);

Returns an object that is similar to a code reference in that it can be called like one.

Caveat: many situations require a real code reference, so at the price of a performance penalty you can get one like this:

 my $function = $ffi->function(...);
 my $coderef = sub { $function->(@_) };

It may be better, and faster to create a real Perl function using the attach method.

In addition to looking up a function by name you can provide the address of the symbol yourself:

 my $address = $ffi->find_symbol('my_function');
 my $function = $ffi->function($address => ...);

Under the covers, function uses find_symbol when you provide it with a name, but it is useful to keep this in mind as there are alternative ways of obtaining a functions address. Example: a C function could return the address of another C function that you might want to call, or modules such as FFI::TinyCC produce machine code at runtime that you can call from Platypus.

[version 0.76]

If the last argument is a code reference, then it will be used as a wrapper around the function when called. The first argument to the wrapper will be the inner function, or if it is later attached an xsub. This can be used if you need to verify/modify input/output data.


 my $function = $ffi->function('my_function_name', ['int', 'string'] => 'string');
 my $return_string = $function->(1, "hi there");

[version 0.91]

 my $function = $ffi->function( $name => \@fixed_argument_types => \@var_argument_types => $return_type);
 my $function = $ffi->function( $name => \@fixed_argument_types => \@var_argument_types => $return_type, \&wrapper);
 my $function = $ffi->function( $name => \@fixed_argument_types => \@var_argument_types);
 my $function = $ffi->function( $name => \@fixed_argument_types => \@var_argument_types => \&wrapper);

Version 0.91 and later allows you to creat functions for c variadic functions (such as printf, scanf, etc) which can take a variable number of arguments. The first set of arguments are the fixed set, the second set are the variable arguments to bind with. The variable argument types must be specified in order to create a function object, so if you need to call variadic function with different set of arguments then you will need to create a new function object each time:

 # int printf(const char *fmt, ...);
 $ffi->function( printf => ['string'] => ['int'] => 'int' )
     ->call("print integer %d\n", 42);
 $ffi->function( printf => ['string'] => ['string'] => 'int' )
     ->call("print string %s\n", 'platypus');

Some older versions of libffi and possibly some platforms may not support variadic functions. If you try to create a one, then an exception will be thrown.

[version 1.26]

If the return type is omitted then void will be the assumed return type.


 $ffi->attach($name => \@argument_types => $return_type);
 $ffi->attach([$c_name => $perl_name] => \@argument_types => $return_type);
 $ffi->attach([$address => $perl_name] => \@argument_types => $return_type);
 $ffi->attach($name => \@argument_types => $return_type, \&wrapper);
 $ffi->attach([$c_name => $perl_name] => \@argument_types => $return_type, \&wrapper);
 $ffi->attach([$address => $perl_name] => \@argument_types => $return_type, \&wrapper);

Find and attach a C function as a real live Perl xsub. The advantage of attaching a function over using the function method is that it is much much much faster since no object resolution needs to be done. The disadvantage is that it locks the function and the FFI::Platypus instance into memory permanently, since there is no way to deallocate an xsub.

If just one $name is given, then the function will be attached in Perl with the same name as it has in C. The second form allows you to give the Perl function a different name. You can also provide an address (the third form), just like with the function method.


 $ffi->attach('my_function_name', ['int', 'string'] => 'string');
 $ffi->attach(['my_c_function_name' => 'my_perl_function_name'], ['int', 'string'] => 'string');
 my $string1 = my_function_name($int);
 my $string2 = my_perl_function_name($int);

[version 0.20]

If the last argument is a code reference, then it will be used as a wrapper around the attached xsub. The first argument to the wrapper will be the inner xsub. This can be used if you need to verify/modify input/output data.


 $ffi->attach('my_function', ['int', 'string'] => 'string', sub {
   my($my_function_xsub, $integer, $string) = @_;
   $string .= " and another thing";
   my $return_string = $my_function_xsub->($integer, $string);
   $return_string =~ s/Belgium//; # HHGG remove profanity

[version 0.91]

 $ffi->attach($name => \@fixed_argument_types => \@var_argument_types, $return_type);
 $ffi->attach($name => \@fixed_argument_types => \@var_argument_types, $return_type, \&wrapper);

As of version 0.91 you can attach a variadic functions, if it is supported by the platform / libffi that you are using. For details see the function documentation. If not supported by the implementation then an exception will be thrown.


 my $closure = $ffi->closure($coderef);
 my $closure = FFI::Platypus->closure($coderef);

Prepares a code reference so that it can be used as a FFI closure (a Perl subroutine that can be called from C code). For details on closures, see FFI::Platypus::Type#Closures and FFI::Platypus::Closure.


 my $converted_value = $ffi->cast($original_type, $converted_type, $original_value);

The cast function converts an existing $original_value of type $original_type into one of type $converted_type. Not all types are supported, so care must be taken. For example, to get the address of a string, you can do this:

 my $address = $ffi->cast('string' => 'opaque', $string_value);

Something that won't work is trying to cast an array to anything:

 my $address = $ffi->cast('int[10]' => 'opaque', \@list);  # WRONG


 $ffi->attach_cast("cast_name", $original_type, $converted_type);
 $ffi->attach_cast("cast_name", $original_type, $converted_type, \&wrapper);
 my $converted_value = cast_name($original_value);

This function attaches a cast as a permanent xsub. This will make it faster and may be useful if you are calling a particular cast a lot.

[version 1.26]

A wrapper may be added as the last argument to attach_cast and works just like the wrapper for attach and function methods.


 my $size = $ffi->sizeof($type);
 my $size = FFI::Platypus->sizeof($type);

Returns the total size of the given type in bytes. For example to get the size of an integer:

 my $intsize = $ffi->sizeof('int');   # usually 4
 my $longsize = $ffi->sizeof('long'); # usually 4 or 8 depending on platform

You can also get the size of arrays

 my $intarraysize = $ffi->sizeof('int[64]');  # usually 4*64
 my $intarraysize = $ffi->sizeof('long[64]'); # usually 4*64 or 8*64
                                              # depending on platform

Keep in mind that "pointer" types will always be the pointer / word size for the platform that you are using. This includes strings, opaque and pointers to other types.

This function is not very fast, so you might want to save this value as a constant, particularly if you need the size in a loop with many iterations.


[version 0.21]

 my $align = $ffi->alignof($type);

Returns the alignment of the given type in bytes.


[version 1.24]

 my $kind = $ffi->kindof($type);

Returns the kind of a type. This is a string with a value of one of



[version 1.24]

 my $count = $ffi->countof($type);

For array types returns the number of elements in the array (returns 0 for variable length array). For the void type returns 0. Returns 1 for all other types.


[version 1.24]

 $ffi->def($package, $type, $value);
 my $value = $ff->def($package, $type);

This method allows you to store data for types. If the $package is not provided, then the caller's package will be used. $type must be a legal Platypus type for the FFI::Platypus instance.


[version 1.24]

 my $unittype = $ffi->unitof($type);

For array and pointer types, returns the basic type without the array or pointer part. In other words, for sin16[] or sint16* it will return sint16.


[version 0.20]

 $ffi->find_lib( lib => $libname );

This is just a shortcut for calling FFI::CheckLib#find_lib and updating the "lib" attribute appropriately. Care should be taken though, as this method simply passes its arguments to FFI::CheckLib#find_lib, so if your module or script is depending on a specific feature in FFI::CheckLib then make sure that you update your prerequisites appropriately.


 my $address = $ffi->find_symbol($name);

Return the address of the given symbol (usually function).


[version 0.96 api = 1+]

 $ffi->bundle($package, \@args);

This is an interface for bundling compiled code with your distribution intended to eventually replace the package method documented above. See FFI::Platypus::Bundle for details on how this works.


[version 0.15 api = 0]

 $ffi->package($package, $file); # usually __PACKAGE__ and __FILE__ can be used
 $ffi->package;                  # autodetect

Note: This method is officially discouraged in favor of bundle described above.

If you use FFI::Build (or the older deprecated Module::Build::FFI to bundle C code with your distribution, you can use this method to tell the FFI::Platypus instance to look for symbols that came with the dynamic library that was built when your distribution was installed.


 my $href = $ffi->abis;
 my $href = FFI::Platypus->abis;

Get the legal ABIs supported by your platform and underlying implementation. What is supported can vary a lot by CPU and by platform, or even between 32 and 64 bit on the same CPU and platform. They keys are the "ABI" names, also known as "calling conventions". The values are integers used internally by the implementation to represent those ABIs.



Set the ABI or calling convention for use in subsequent calls to "function" or "attach". May be either a string name or integer value from the "abis" method above.


Here are some examples. These examples are provided in full with the Platypus distribution in the "examples" directory. There are also some more examples in FFI::Platypus::Type that are related to types.

Integer conversions

 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->attach(puts => ['string'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(atoi => ['string'] => 'int');

Discussion: puts and atoi should be part of the standard C library on all platforms. puts prints a string to standard output, and atoi converts a string to integer. Specifying undef as a library tells Platypus to search the current process for symbols, which includes the standard c library.


 use FFI::CheckLib;
 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 # NOTE: I ported this from anoter Perl FFI library and it seems to work most
 # of the time, but also seems to SIGSEGV sometimes.  I saw the same behavior
 # in the old version, and am not really familiar with the libnotify API to
 # say what is the cause.  Patches welcome to fix it.
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->lib(find_lib_or_exit lib => 'notify');
 $ffi->attach(notify_init   => ['string'] => 'void');
 $ffi->attach(notify_uninit => []       => 'void');
 $ffi->attach([notify_notification_new    => 'notify_new']    => ['string', 'string', 'string']           => 'opaque');
 $ffi->attach([notify_notification_update => 'notify_update'] => ['opaque', 'string', 'string', 'string'] => 'void');
 $ffi->attach([notify_notification_show   => 'notify_show']   => ['opaque', 'opaque']                     => 'void');
 my $n = notify_new('','','');
 notify_update($n, 'FFI::Platypus', 'It works!!!', 'media-playback-start');
 notify_show($n, undef);

Discussion: libnotify is a desktop GUI notification library for the GNOME Desktop environment. This script sends a notification event that should show up as a balloon, for me it did so in the upper right hand corner of my screen.

The most portable way to find the correct name and location of a dynamic library is via the FFI::CheckLib#find_lib family of functions. If you are putting together a CPAN distribution, you should also consider using FFI::CheckLib#check_lib_or_exit function in your Build.PL or Makefile.PL file (If you are using Dist::Zilla, check out the Dist::Zilla::Plugin::FFI::CheckLib plugin). This will provide a user friendly diagnostic letting the user know that the required library is missing, and reduce the number of bogus CPAN testers results that you will get.

Also in this example, we rename some of the functions when they are placed into Perl space to save typing:

 $ffi->attach( [notify_notification_new => 'notify_new']
   => ['string','string','string']
   => 'opaque'

When you specify a list reference as the "name" of the function the first element is the symbol name as understood by the dynamic library. The second element is the name as it will be placed in Perl space.

Later, when we call notify_new:

 my $n = notify_new('','','');

We are really calling the C function notify_notification_new.

Allocating and freeing memory

 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 use FFI::Platypus::Memory qw( malloc free memcpy );
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 my $buffer = malloc 12;
 memcpy $buffer, $ffi->cast('string' => 'opaque', "hello there"), length "hello there\0";
 print $ffi->cast('opaque' => 'string', $buffer), "\n";
 free $buffer;

Discussion: malloc and free are standard memory allocation functions available from the standard c library and. Interfaces to these and other memory related functions are provided by the FFI::Platypus::Memory module.

structured data records

 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 use FFI::C;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new(
   api => 2,
   lib => [undef],
 package Unix::TimeStruct {
   FFI::C->struct(tm => [
     tm_sec    => 'int',
     tm_min    => 'int',
     tm_hour   => 'int',
     tm_mday   => 'int',
     tm_mon    => 'int',
     tm_year   => 'int',
     tm_wday   => 'int',
     tm_yday   => 'int',
     tm_isdst  => 'int',
     tm_gmtoff => 'long',
     _tm_zone  => 'opaque',
   # For now 'string' is unsupported by FFI::C, but we
   # can cast the time zone from an opaque pointer to
   # string.
   sub tm_zone {
     my $self = shift;
     $ffi->cast('opaque', 'string', $self->_tm_zone);
   # attach the C localtime function
   $ffi->attach( localtime => ['time_t*'] => 'tm', sub {
     my($inner, $class, $time) = @_;
     $time = time unless defined $time;
 # now we can actually use our Unix::TimeStruct class
 my $time = Unix::TimeStruct->localtime;
 printf "time is %d:%d:%d %s\n",

Discussion: C and other machine code languages frequently provide interfaces that include structured data records (known as "structs" in C). They sometimes provide an API in which you are expected to manipulate these records before and/or after passing them along to C functions. For C pointers to structs, unions and arrays of structs and unions, the easiest interface to use is via FFI::C. If you are working with structs that must be passed as values (not pointers), then you want to use the FFI::Platypus::Record class instead. We will discuss this class later.

The C localtime function takes a pointer to a C struct. We simply define the members of the struct using the FFI::C struct method. Because we used the ffi method to tell FFI::C to use our local instance of FFI::Platypus it registers the tm type for us, and we can just start using it as a return type!

structured data records by-value


 use FFI::CheckLib;
 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 use FFI::Platypus::Memory qw( malloc free );
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->lib(find_lib_or_exit lib => 'uuid');
 $ffi->type('string(37)*' => 'uuid_string');
 $ffi->type('record(16)*' => 'uuid_t');
 $ffi->attach(uuid_generate => ['uuid_t'] => 'void');
 $ffi->attach(uuid_unparse  => ['uuid_t','uuid_string'] => 'void');
 my $uuid = "\0" x $ffi->sizeof('uuid_t');
 my $string = "\0" x $ffi->sizeof('uuid_string');
 uuid_unparse($uuid, $string);
 print "$string\n";

Discussion: libuuid is a library used to generate unique identifiers (UUID) for objects that may be accessible beyond the local system. The library is or was part of the Linux e2fsprogs package.

Knowing the size of objects is sometimes important. In this example, we use the sizeof function to get the size of 16 characters (in this case it is simply 16 bytes). We also know that the strings "deparsed" by uuid_unparse are exactly 37 bytes.

puts and getpid

 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->attach(puts => ['string'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(getpid => [] => 'int');

Discussion: puts is part of standard C library on all platforms. getpid is available on Unix type platforms.

Math library

 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 use FFI::CheckLib;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->attach(puts => ['string'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(fdim => ['double','double'] => 'double');
 puts(fdim(7.0, 2.0));
 $ffi->attach(cos => ['double'] => 'double');
 $ffi->attach(fmax => ['double', 'double'] => 'double');

Discussion: On UNIX the standard c library math functions are frequently provided in a separate library libm, so you could search for those symbols in "", but that won't work on non-UNIX platforms like Microsoft Windows. Fortunately Perl uses the math library so these symbols are already in the current process so you can use undef as the library to find them.


 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->attach(puts => ['string'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(strlen => ['string'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(strstr => ['string','string'] => 'string');
 puts(strstr('somestring', 'string'));
 #attach puts => [string] => int;
 $ffi->attach(strerror => ['int'] => 'string');

Discussion: ASCII and UTF-8 Strings are not a native type to libffi but the are handled seamlessly by Platypus. If you need to talk to an API that uses so called "wide" strings (APIs which use const wchar_t* or wchar_t*), then you will want to use the wide string type plugin FFI::Platypus::Type::WideString. APIs which use other arbitrary encodings can be accessed by converting your Perl strings manually with the Encode module.

Attach function from pointer

 use FFI::TinyCC;
 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 my $tcc = FFI::TinyCC->new;
   add(int a, int b)
     return a+b;
 my $address = $tcc->get_symbol('add');
 $ffi->attach( [ $address => 'add' ] => ['int','int'] => 'int' );
 print add(1,2), "\n";

Discussion: Sometimes you will have a pointer to a function from a source other than Platypus that you want to call. You can use that address instead of a function name for either of the function or attach methods. In this example we use FFI::TinyCC to compile a short piece of C code and to give us the address of one of its functions, which we then use to create a perl xsub to call it.

FFI::TinyCC embeds the Tiny C Compiler (tcc) to provide a just-in-time (JIT) compilation service for FFI.


 use constant ZMQ_IO_THREADS  => 1;
 use constant ZMQ_MAX_SOCKETS => 2;
 use constant ZMQ_REQ => 3;
 use constant ZMQ_REP => 4;
 use FFI::CheckLib qw( find_lib_or_exit );
 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 use FFI::Platypus::Memory qw( malloc );
 use FFI::Platypus::Buffer qw( scalar_to_buffer buffer_to_scalar );
 my $endpoint = "ipc://zmq-ffi-$$";
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->lib(undef); # for puts
 $ffi->attach(puts => ['string'] => 'int');
 $ffi->lib(find_lib_or_exit lib => 'zmq');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_version => ['int*', 'int*', 'int*'] => 'void');
 zmq_version(\$major, \$minor, \$patch);
 puts("libzmq version $major.$minor.$patch");
 die "this script only works with libzmq 3 or better" unless $major >= 3;
 $ffi->type('opaque'       => 'zmq_context');
 $ffi->type('opaque'       => 'zmq_socket');
 $ffi->type('opaque'       => 'zmq_msg_t');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_ctx_new  => [] => 'zmq_context');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_ctx_set  => ['zmq_context', 'int', 'int'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_socket   => ['zmq_context', 'int'] => 'zmq_socket');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_connect  => ['opaque', 'string'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_bind     => ['zmq_socket', 'string'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_send     => ['zmq_socket', 'opaque', 'size_t', 'int'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_msg_init => ['zmq_msg_t'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_msg_recv => ['zmq_msg_t', 'zmq_socket', 'int'] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_msg_data => ['zmq_msg_t'] => 'opaque');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_errno    => [] => 'int');
 $ffi->attach(zmq_strerror => ['int'] => 'string');
 my $context = zmq_ctx_new();
 zmq_ctx_set($context, ZMQ_IO_THREADS, 1);
 my $socket1 = zmq_socket($context, ZMQ_REQ);
 zmq_connect($socket1, $endpoint);
 my $socket2 = zmq_socket($context, ZMQ_REP);
 zmq_bind($socket2, $endpoint);
 do { # send
   our $sent_message = "hello there";
   my($pointer, $size) = scalar_to_buffer $sent_message;
   my $r = zmq_send($socket1, $pointer, $size, 0);
   die zmq_strerror(zmq_errno()) if $r == -1;
 do { # recv
   my $msg_ptr  = malloc 100;
   my $size     = zmq_msg_recv($msg_ptr, $socket2, 0);
   die zmq_strerror(zmq_errno()) if $size == -1;
   my $data_ptr = zmq_msg_data($msg_ptr);
   my $recv_message = buffer_to_scalar $data_ptr, $size;
   print "recv_message = $recv_message\n";

Discussion: ØMQ is a high-performance asynchronous messaging library. There are a few things to note here.

Firstly, sometimes there may be multiple versions of a library in the wild and you may need to verify that the library on a system meets your needs (alternatively you could support multiple versions and configure your bindings dynamically). Here we use zmq_version to ask libzmq which version it is.

zmq_version returns the version number via three integer pointer arguments, so we use the pointer to integer type: int *. In order to pass pointer types, we pass a reference. In this case it is a reference to an undefined value, because zmq_version will write into the pointers the output values, but you can also pass in references to integers, floating point values and opaque pointer types. When the function returns the $major variable (and the others) has been updated and we can use it to verify that it supports the API that we require.

Notice that we define three aliases for the opaque type: zmq_context, zmq_socket and zmq_msg_t. While this isn't strictly necessary, since Platypus and C treat all three of these types the same, it is useful form of documentation that helps describe the functionality of the interface.

Finally we attach the necessary functions, send and receive a message. If you are interested, there is a fully fleshed out ØMQ Perl interface implemented using FFI called ZMQ::FFI.


 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 use FFI::CheckLib qw( find_lib_or_exit );
 # This example uses FreeBSD's libarchive to list the contents of any
 # archive format that it suppors.  We've also filled out a part of
 # the ArchiveWrite class that could be used for writing archive formats
 # supported by libarchive
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->lib(find_lib_or_exit lib => 'archive');
 $ffi->type('object(Archive)'      => 'archive_t');
 $ffi->type('object(ArchiveRead)'  => 'archive_read_t');
 $ffi->type('object(ArchiveWrite)' => 'archive_write_t');
 $ffi->type('object(ArchiveEntry)' => 'archive_entry_t');
 package Archive;
 # base class is "abstract" having no constructor or destructor
 $ffi->mangler(sub {
   my($name) = @_;
 $ffi->attach( error_string => ['archive_t'] => 'string' );
 package ArchiveRead;
 our @ISA = qw( Archive );
 $ffi->mangler(sub {
   my($name) = @_;
 $ffi->attach( new                   => ['string']                        => 'archive_read_t' );
 $ffi->attach( [ free => 'DESTROY' ] => ['archive_t']                     => 'void' );
 $ffi->attach( support_filter_all    => ['archive_t']                     => 'int' );
 $ffi->attach( support_format_all    => ['archive_t']                     => 'int' );
 $ffi->attach( open_filename         => ['archive_t','string','size_t']   => 'int' );
 $ffi->attach( next_header2          => ['archive_t', 'archive_entry_t' ] => 'int' );
 $ffi->attach( data_skip             => ['archive_t']                     => 'int' );
 # ... define additional read methods
 package ArchiveWrite;
 our @ISA = qw( Archive );
 $ffi->mangler(sub {
   my($name) = @_;
 $ffi->attach( new                   => ['string'] => 'archive_write_t' );
 $ffi->attach( [ free => 'DESTROY' ] => ['archive_write_t'] => 'void' );
 # ... define additional write methods
 package ArchiveEntry;
 $ffi->mangler(sub {
   my($name) = @_;
 $ffi->attach( new => ['string']     => 'archive_entry_t' );
 $ffi->attach( [ free => 'DESTROY' ] => ['archive_entry_t'] => 'void' );
 $ffi->attach( pathname              => ['archive_entry_t'] => 'string' );
 # ... define additional entry methods
 package main;
 use constant ARCHIVE_OK => 0;
 # this is a Perl version of the C code here:
 my $archive_filename = shift @ARGV;
 unless(defined $archive_filename)
   print "usage: $0 archive.tar\n";
 my $archive = ArchiveRead->new;
 my $r = $archive->open_filename($archive_filename, 1024);
 die "error opening $archive_filename: ", $archive->error_string
   unless $r == ARCHIVE_OK;
 my $entry = ArchiveEntry->new;
 while($archive->next_header2($entry) == ARCHIVE_OK)
   print $entry->pathname, "\n";

Discussion: libarchive is the implementation of tar for FreeBSD provided as a library and available on a number of platforms.

One interesting thing about libarchive is that it provides a kind of object oriented interface via opaque pointers. This example creates an abstract class Archive, and concrete classes ArchiveWrite, ArchiveRead and ArchiveEntry. The concrete classes can even be inherited from and extended just like any Perl classes because of the way the custom types are implemented. We use Platypus's object type for this implementation, which is a wrapper around an opaque (can also be an integer) type that is blessed into a particular class.

Another advanced feature of this example is that we define a mangler to modify the symbol resolution for each class. This means we can do this when we define a method for Archive:

 $ffi->attach( support_filter_all => ['archive_t'] => 'int' );

Rather than this:

   [ archive_read_support_filter_all => 'support_read_filter_all' ] =>
   ['archive_t'] => 'int' );

unix open

 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
   package FD;
   use constant O_RDONLY => 0;
   use constant O_WRONLY => 1;
   use constant O_RDWR   => 2;
   use constant IN  => bless \do { my $in=0  }, __PACKAGE__;
   use constant OUT => bless \do { my $out=1 }, __PACKAGE__;
   use constant ERR => bless \do { my $err=2 }, __PACKAGE__;
   my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2, lib => [undef]);
   $ffi->type('object(FD,int)' => 'fd');
   $ffi->attach( [ 'open' => 'new' ] => [ 'string', 'int', 'mode_t' ] => 'fd' => sub {
     my($xsub, $class, $fn, @rest) = @_;
     my $fd = $xsub->($fn, @rest);
     die "error opening $fn $!" if $$fd == -1;
   $ffi->attach( write => ['fd', 'string', 'size_t' ] => 'ssize_t' );
   $ffi->attach( read  => ['fd', 'string', 'size_t' ] => 'ssize_t' );
   $ffi->attach( close => ['fd'] => 'int' );
 my $fd = FD->new("$0", FD::O_RDONLY);
 my $buffer = "\0" x 10;
 while(my $br = $fd->read($buffer, 10))
   FD::OUT->write($buffer, $br);

Discussion: The Unix file system calls use an integer handle for each open file. We can use the same object type that we used for libarchive above, except we let platypus know that the underlying type is int instead of opaque (the latter being the default for the object type). Mainly just for demonstration since Perl has much better IO libraries, but now we have an OO interface to the Unix IO functions.


 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 use FFI::CheckLib qw( find_lib_or_die );
 use FFI::Platypus::Buffer qw( scalar_to_buffer buffer_to_scalar );
 use FFI::Platypus::Memory qw( malloc free );
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
 $ffi->lib(find_lib_or_die lib => 'bz2');
   [ BZ2_bzBuffToBuffCompress => 'compress' ] => [
     'opaque',                           # dest
     'unsigned int *',                   # dest length
     'opaque',                           # source
     'unsigned int',                     # source length
     'int',                              # blockSize100k
     'int',                              # verbosity
     'int',                              # workFactor
   ] => 'int',
   sub {
     my $sub = shift;
     my($source,$source_length) = scalar_to_buffer $_[0];
     my $dest_length = int(length($source)*1.01) + 1 + 600;
     my $dest = malloc $dest_length;
     my $r = $sub->($dest, \$dest_length, $source, $source_length, 9, 0, 30);
     die "bzip2 error $r" unless $r == 0;
     my $compressed = buffer_to_scalar($dest, $dest_length);
     free $dest;
   [ BZ2_bzBuffToBuffDecompress => 'decompress' ] => [
     'opaque',                           # dest
     'unsigned int *',                   # dest length
     'opaque',                           # source
     'unsigned int',                     # source length
     'int',                              # small
     'int',                              # verbosity
   ] => 'int',
   sub {
     my $sub = shift;
     my($source, $source_length) = scalar_to_buffer $_[0];
     my $dest_length = $_[1];
     my $dest = malloc $dest_length;
     my $r = $sub->($dest, \$dest_length, $source, $source_length, 0, 0);
     die "bzip2 error $r" unless $r == 0;
     my $decompressed = buffer_to_scalar($dest, $dest_length);
     free $dest;
 my $original = "hello compression world\n";
 my $compressed = compress($original);
 print decompress($compressed, length $original);

Discussion: bzip2 is a compression library. For simple one shot attempts at compression/decompression when you expect the original and the result to fit within memory it provides two convenience functions BZ2_bzBuffToBuffCompress and BZ2_bzBuffToBuffDecompress.

The first four arguments of both of these C functions are identical, and represent two buffers. One buffer is the source, the second is the destination. For the destination, the length is passed in as a pointer to an integer. On input this integer is the size of the destination buffer, and thus the maximum size of the compressed or decompressed data. When the function returns the actual size of compressed or compressed data is stored in this integer.

This is normal stuff for C, but in Perl our buffers are scalars and they already know how large they are. In this sort of situation, wrapping the C function in some Perl code can make your interface a little more Perl like. In order to do this, just provide a code reference as the last argument to the "attach" method. The first argument to this wrapper will be a code reference to the C function. The Perl arguments will come in after that. This allows you to modify / convert the arguments to conform to the C API. What ever value you return from the wrapper function will be returned back to the original caller.

The Win32 API

 use utf8;
 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
 my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new(
   api  => 2,
   lib  => [undef],
 # see FFI::Platypus::Lang::Win32
 # Send a Unicode string to the Windows API MessageBoxW function.
 use constant MB_OK                   => 0x00000000;
 use constant MB_DEFAULT_DESKTOP_ONLY => 0x00020000;
 $ffi->attach( [MessageBoxW => 'MessageBox'] => [ 'HWND', 'LPCWSTR', 'LPCWSTR', 'UINT'] => 'int' );
 MessageBox(undef, "I ❤️ Platypus", "Confession", MB_OK|MB_DEFAULT_DESKTOP_ONLY);

Discussion: The API used by Microsoft Windows present some unique challenges. On 32 bit systems a different ABI is used than what is used by the standard C library. It also provides a rats nest of type aliases. Finally if you want to talk Unicode to any of the Windows API you will need to use UTF-16LE instead of utf-8 which is native to Perl. (The Win32 API refers to these as LPWSTR and LPCWSTR types). As much as possible the Win32 "language" plugin attempts to handle this transparently. For more details see FFI::Platypus::Lang::Win32.

bundle your own code


 #include <ffi_platypus_bundle.h>
 #include <string.h>
 typedef struct {
   char *name;
   int value;
 } foo_t;
 foo__new(const char *class_name, const char *name, int value)
   foo_t *self = malloc( sizeof( foo_t ) );
   self->name = strdup(name);
   self->value = value;
   return self;
 const char *
 foo__name(foo_t *self)
   return self->name;
 foo__value(foo_t *self)
   return self->value;
 foo__DESTROY(foo_t *self)


 package Foo;
 use strict;
 use warnings;
 use FFI::Platypus 2.00;
   my $ffi = FFI::Platypus->new( api => 2 );
   $ffi->type('object(Foo)' => 'foo_t');
   $ffi->mangler(sub {
     my $name = shift;
     $name =~ s/^/foo__/;
   $ffi->attach( new =>     [ 'string', 'string', 'int' ] => 'foo_t'  );
   $ffi->attach( name =>    [ 'foo_t' ]                   => 'string' );
   $ffi->attach( value =>   [ 'foo_t' ]                   => 'int'    );
   $ffi->attach( DESTROY => [ 'foo_t' ]                   => 'void'   );

You can bundle your own C (or other compiled language) code with your Perl extension. Sometimes this is helpful for smoothing over the interface of a C library which is not very FFI friendly. Sometimes you may want to write some code in C for a tight loop. Either way, you can do this with the Platypus bundle interface. See FFI::Platypus::Bundle for more details.

Also related is the bundle constant interface, which allows you to define Perl constants in C space. See FFI::Platypus::Constant for details.


How do I get constants defined as macros in C header files

This turns out to be a challenge for any language calling into C, which frequently uses #define macros to define constants like so:

 #define FOO_STATIC  1
 #define FOO_DYNAMIC 2
 #define FOO_OTHER   3

As macros are expanded and their definitions are thrown away by the C pre-processor there isn't any way to get the name/value mappings from the compiled dynamic library.

You can manually create equivalent constants in your Perl source:

 use constant FOO_STATIC  => 1;
 use constant FOO_DYNAMIC => 2;
 use constant FOO_OTHER   => 3;

If there are a lot of these types of constants you might want to consider using a tool (Convert::Binary::C can do this) that can extract the constants for you.

See also the "Integer constants" example in FFI::Platypus::Type.

You can also use the new Platypus bundle interface to define Perl constants from C space. This is more reliable, but does require a compiler at install time. It is recommended mainly for writing bindings against libraries that have constants that can vary widely from platform to platform. See FFI::Platypus::Constant for details.

What about enums?

The C enum types are integers. The underlying type is up to the platform, so Platypus provides enum and senum types for unsigned and singed enums respectively. At least some compilers treat signed and unsigned enums as different types. The enum values are essentially the same as macro constants described above from an FFI perspective. Thus the process of defining enum values is identical to the process of defining macro constants in Perl.

For more details on enumerated types see "Enum types" in FFI::Platypus::Type.

There is also a type plugin (FFI::Platypus::Type::Enum) that can be helpful in writing interfaces that use enums.

Memory leaks

There are a couple places where memory is allocated, but never deallocated that may look like memory leaks by tools designed to find memory leaks like valgrind. This memory is intended to be used for the lifetime of the perl process so there normally this isn't a problem unless you are embedding a Perl interpreter which doesn't closely match the lifetime of your overall application.


type cache

some types are cached and not freed. These are needed as long as there are FFI functions that could be called.

attached functions

Attaching a function as an xsub will definitely allocate memory that won't be freed because the xsub could be called at any time, including in END blocks.

The Platypus team plans on adding a hook to free some of this "leaked" memory for use cases where Perl and Platypus are embedded in a larger application where the lifetime of the Perl process is significantly smaller than the overall lifetime of the whole process.

I get seg faults on some platforms but not others with a library using pthreads.

On some platforms, Perl isn't linked with libpthreads if Perl threads are not enabled. On some platforms this doesn't seem to matter, libpthreads can be loaded at runtime without much ill-effect. (Linux from my experience doesn't seem to mind one way or the other). Some platforms are not happy about this, and about the only thing that you can do about it is to build Perl such that it links with libpthreads even if it isn't a threaded Perl.

This is not really an FFI issue, but a Perl issue, as you will have the same problem writing XS code for the such libraries.

Doesn't work on Perl 5.10.0.

I try as best as possible to support the same range of Perls as the Perl toolchain. That means all the way back to 5.8.1. Unfortunately, 5.10.0 seems to have a problem that is difficult to diagnose. Patches to fix are welcome, if you want to help out on this, please see:

Since this is an older buggy version of Perl it is recommended that you instead upgrade to 5.10.1 or later.


Platypus and Native Interfaces like libffi rely on the availability of dynamic libraries. Things not supported include:

Systems that lack dynamic library support


Systems that are not supported by libffi

Like OpenVMS

Languages that do not support using dynamic libraries from other languages

This used to be the case with Google's Go, but is no longer the case. This is a problem for C / XS code as well.

Languages that do not compile to machine code

Like .NET based languages and Java.

The documentation has a bias toward using FFI / Platypus with C. This is my fault, as my background in mainly in C/C++ programmer (when I am not writing Perl). In many places I use "C" as a short form for "any language that can generate machine code and is callable from C". I welcome pull requests to the Platypus core to address this issue. In an attempt to ease usage of Platypus by non C programmers, I have written a number of foreign language plugins for various popular languages (see the SEE ALSO below). These plugins come with examples specific to those languages, and documentation on common issues related to using those languages with FFI. In most cases these are available for easy adoption for those with the know-how or the willingness to learn. If your language doesn't have a plugin YET, that is just because you haven't written it yet.


IRC: #native on

(click for instant chat room login)

If something does not work the way you think it should, or if you have a feature request, please open an issue on this project's GitHub Issue tracker:


If you have implemented a new feature or fixed a bug then you may make a pull request on this project's GitHub repository:

This project is developed using Dist::Zilla. The project's git repository also comes with the Makefile.PL file necessary for building, testing (and even installing if necessary) without Dist::Zilla. Please keep in mind though that these files are generated so if changes need to be made to those files they should be done through the project's dist.ini file. If you do use Dist::Zilla and already have the necessary plugins installed, then I encourage you to run dzil test before making any pull requests. This is not a requirement, however, I am happy to integrate especially smaller patches that need tweaking to fit the project standards. I may push back and ask you to write a test case or alter the formatting of a patch depending on the amount of time I have and the amount of code that your patch touches.

This project's GitHub issue tracker listed above is not Write-Only. If you want to contribute then feel free to browse through the existing issues and see if there is something you feel you might be good at and take a whack at the problem. I frequently open issues myself that I hope will be accomplished by someone in the future but do not have time to immediately implement myself.

Another good area to help out in is documentation. I try to make sure that there is good document coverage, that is there should be documentation describing all the public features and warnings about common pitfalls, but an outsider's or alternate view point on such things would be welcome; if you see something confusing or lacks sufficient detail I encourage documentation only pull requests to improve things.

The Platypus distribution comes with a test library named libtest that is normally automatically built by ./Build test. If you prefer to use prove or run tests directly, you can use the ./Build libtest command to build it. Example:

 % perl Makefile.PL
 % make
 % make ffi-test
 % prove -bv t
 # or an individual test
 % perl -Mblib t/ffi_platypus_memory.t

The build process also respects these environment variables:


When building Platypus on 32 bit Perls, it will use the Math::Int64 C API and make Math::Int64 a prerequisite. Setting this environment variable will force Platypus to build with both of those options on a 64 bit Perl as well.

 % env FFI_PLATYPUS_DEBUG_FAKE32=1 perl Makefile.PL
   + making Math::Int64 a prereq
   + Using Math::Int64's C API to manipulate 64 bit values
 Generating a Unix-style Makefile
 Writing Makefile for FFI::Platypus
 Writing MYMETA.yml and MYMETA.json

Platypus uses the non-standard and somewhat controversial C function alloca by default on platforms that support it. I believe that Platypus uses it responsibly to allocate small amounts of memory for argument type parameters, and does not use it to allocate large structures like arrays or buffers. If you prefer not to use alloca despite these precautions, then you can turn its use off by setting this environment variable when you run Makefile.PL:

 helix% env FFI_PLATYPUS_NO_ALLOCA=1 perl Makefile.PL
   + alloca() will not be used, even if your platform supports it.
 Generating a Unix-style Makefile
 Writing Makefile for FFI::Platypus
 Writing MYMETA.yml and MYMETA.json

When building platypus may hide some of the excessive output when probing and building, unless you set V to a true value.

 % env V=1 perl Makefile.PL
 % make V=1

Coding Guidelines

  • Do not hesitate to make code contribution. Making useful contributions is more important than following byzantine bureaucratic coding regulations. We can always tweak things later.

  • Please make an effort to follow existing coding style when making pull requests.

  • Platypus supports all production Perl releases since 5.8.1. For that reason, please do not introduce any code that requires a newer version of Perl.

Performance Testing

As Mark Twain was fond of saying there are four types of lies: lies, damn lies, statistics and benchmarks. That being said, it can sometimes be helpful to compare the runtime performance of Platypus if you are making significant changes to the Platypus Core. For that I use `FFI-Performance`, which can be found in my GitHub repository here:

System integrators

This distribution uses Alien::FFI in fallback mode, meaning if the system doesn't provide pkg-config and libffi it will attempt to download libffi and build it from source. If you are including Platypus in a larger system (for example a Linux distribution) you only need to make sure to declare pkg-config or pkgconf and the development package for libffi as prereqs for this module.


Extending Platypus


Type definitions for Platypus.


Interface for defining structured data records for use with Platypus. It supports C struct, union, nested structures and arrays of all of those. It only supports passing these types by reference or pointer, so if you need to pass structured data by value see FFI::Platypus::Record below.


Interface for defining structured data records for use with Platypus. Included in the Platypus core. Supports pass by value which is uncommon in C, but frequently used in languages like Rust and Go. Consider using FFI::C instead if you don't need to pass by value.


The custom types API for Platypus.


Memory functions for FFI.



JIT C compiler for FFI.


Documentation and tools for using Platypus with the C programming language


Documentation and tools for using Platypus with the C++ programming language


Documentation and tools for using Platypus with Fortran


Documentation and tools for using Platypus with Go


Documentation and tools for using Platypus with Free Pascal


Documentation and tools for using Platypus with the Rust programming language


Documentation and tools for using Platypus with the Assembly


Documentation and tools for using Platypus with the Win32 API.

Wasm and Wasm::Wasmtime

Modules for writing WebAssembly bindings in Perl. This allows you to call functions written in any language supported by WebAssembly. These modules are also implemented using Platypus.


Find dynamic libraries in a portable way.


A great interface for decoding C data structures, including structs, enums, #defines and more.

pack and unpack

Native to Perl functions that can be used to decode C struct types.


This module can extract constants and other useful objects from C header files that may be relevant to an FFI application. One downside is that its use may require development packages to be installed.

Other Foreign Function Interfaces


A wrapper around dyncall, which is itself an alternative to libffi.


Promising interface to Platypus inspired by Raku.


Microsoft Windows specific FFI style interface.


Older, simpler, less featureful FFI. It used to be implemented using FSF's ffcall. Because ffcall has been unsupported for some time, I reimplemented this module using FFI::Platypus.


Another FFI for Perl that doesn't appear to have worked for a long time.


Embed a tiny C compiler into your Perl scripts.


Yet another FFI like interface that does not appear to be supported or under development anymore.



Provides libffi for Platypus during its configuration and build stages.


In addition to the contributors mentioned below, I would like to acknowledge Brock Wilcox (AWWAIID) and Meredith Howard (MHOWARD) whose work on FFI::Sweet not only helped me get started with FFI but significantly influenced the design of Platypus.

Dan Book, who goes by Grinnz on IRC for answering user questions about FFI and Platypus.

In addition I'd like to thank Alessandro Ghedini (ALEXBIO) whose work on another Perl FFI library helped drive some of the development ideas for FFI::Platypus.


Author: Graham Ollis <>


Bakkiaraj Murugesan (bakkiaraj)

Dylan Cali (calid)


Zaki Mughal (zmughal)

Fitz Elliott (felliott)

Vickenty Fesunov (vyf)

Gregor Herrmann (gregoa)

Shlomi Fish (shlomif)

Damyan Ivanov

Ilya Pavlov (Ilya33)

Petr Písař (ppisar)

Mohammad S Anwar (MANWAR)

Håkon Hægland (hakonhagland, HAKONH)

Meredith (merrilymeredith, MHOWARD)

Diab Jerius (DJERIUS)

Eric Brine (IKEGAMI)


José Joaquín Atria (JJATRIA)

Pete Houston (openstrike, HOUSTON)


This software is copyright (c) 2015-2022 by Graham Ollis.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.